Synthesis and turnover of non-polar lipids in yeast

Prog Lipid Res. 2008 May;47(3):157-71. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 Jan 18.


In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as in other eukaryotic cells non-polar lipids form a reservoir of energy and building blocks for membrane lipid synthesis. The yeast non-polar lipids, triacylglycerol (TAG) and steryl ester (STE), are synthesized by enzymes with overlapping function. Recently, genes encoding these enzymes were identified and gene products were partially characterized. Once formed, TAG and STE are stored in so-called lipid particles/droplets. This compartment which is reminiscent of mammalian lipoproteins from the structural viewpoint is, however, not only a lipid depot but also an organelle actively contributing to lipid metabolism. Non-polar lipid degrading enzymes, TAG lipases and STE hydrolases, also occur in redundancy in the yeast. These proteins, which are components of the lipid particle surface membrane with the exception of one plasma membrane localized STE hydrolase, mobilize non-polar lipids upon requirement. In this review, we describe the coordinate pathways of non-polar lipid synthesis, storage and mobilization in yeast with special emphasis on the role of the different enzymes and organelles involved in these processes. Moreover, we will discuss non-polar lipid homeostasis and its newly discovered links to various cell biological processes in the yeast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Esters / metabolism
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipid Mobilization
  • Metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Sterols / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Esters
  • Sterols
  • Triglycerides